Is there any difference between the following sentences?

  1. I have some questions to ask.


  1. I have some questions to be asked.

1 Answer 1


Fundamentally, there is a big difference between the active (to ask) and the passive (to be asked); but in this context the difference in meaning is not great. However, it happens that the first is idiomatic, and the second is unusual.

When you say questions to ask, that is active, and is focussing on the person who is going to ask the questions - usually, the speaker. You can think of it as equivalent to

I have some questions for me to ask.


I have some questions that I intend to ask.

(The second of these is an unremarkable sentence, but in most cases people would use your shorter version. The first of these is grammatical, but unlikely to be said, because "for me" is implied in "I have some questions to ask".)

Your passive alternative "I have some questions to be asked" is grammatical, but unusual, because it is focussed on the questions, rather than the asker, and that doesn't quite match the person focus of "I have". Rather more common is

There are some questions to be asked.

and even more common is

There are some questions to be answered.

which focuses on the answers that are desired rather than on the questions that are to be asked.

  • I would understand the second variant as "I have been tasked to ask some questions". Sep 2, 2018 at 11:19

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